Tokyo, Jul 10 (AP/UNB) — Johnny Kitagawa, a kingpin of Japan's entertainment industry for more than half a century who produced famous boybands including Arashi and SMAP, has died. He was 87.
Kitagawa, better known as Johnny-san, died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage Tuesday at a Tokyo hospital, where he had been treated after falling unconscious June 18, according to his office, Johnny & Associates.
Born in Los Angeles in 1931, Kitagawa spent his early childhood in Japan before and during World War II. He later grew up in the U.S. before returning to Japan after the Korean War.
Kitagawa established his office in 1962, producing a four-man group called the Johnny's and spearheading Japan's entertainment scene. He sent many artists to fame, not only in Japan but in recent years across Asia.
Creating boybands was a challenge to cultural norms in Japan back then, but his talent agency grew to dominate the country's entertainment market.
The artists he produced set the standards for Japanese male idols, and "Johnny's" became a word for attractive men.
Kitagawa called the artists and trainees his "children," and was affectionately known as Johnny-san, though he hardly appeared in public.
His agency became so powerful that it virtually dominated Japan's entertainment industry, and he also faced rumors of alleged harassment and sexual abuse.
While Kitagawa was in the hospital, scores of artists he trained came to visit him even though he was unconscious, sharing his favorite foods and recounting fond memories of him, while listening to old and new songs he produced, his office said in a statement.
"Bringing happiness to the people all over the world through entertainment" was his slogan for his business, Kitagawa wrote last year in a message posted on his office's website.
Los Angeles, July 9 (AP/UNB) — Jay-Z is heading into the legal marijuana industry as a chief brand strategist in partnership with a California cannabis product company.
The rapper said in a statement Tuesday that he entered a multiyear deal with San Jose, California-based Caliva. His role will consist of driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy for the brand.
Jay-Z says he also wants to increase the economic participation of people returning from incarceration through job training and workforce development.
The rapper called Caliva "the best partners for this endeavor."
Caliva operates a farm and two stores in Northern California. It also distributes its branded products in roughly two dozen other retail outlets in the state.
NFL legend Joe Montana's venture capital firm took part in a $75 million investment in Caliva earlier this year.
New York, July 9 (AP/UNB) — The last thing the world needs, Lady Gaga says, is another beauty brand. But that's too bad.
The pop star made all her Little Monsters happy Tuesday when she released a video with that message on social media. It heralds the coming of her new beauty line, Haus Laboratories, reportedly to be sold on Amazon come September.
Gaga dropped the news in an interview with the Business of Fashion, coinciding with the video that encourages all to embrace their own ideas about beauty. Business of Fashion says the three initial products are multiuse color for cheeks, eyes and lips in six shade families. A kit with all three will sell for $49. Pre-orders begin July 15.
Gaga says in the video: "Beauty is how you see yourself." She adds, "We want you to love yourself."
New Orleans, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — Hundreds of family members, friends, fans and fellow musicians gathered in New Orleans Monday to bid farewell to rock 'n' roll pioneer Dave Bartholomew.
A trumpet-shaped flower arrangement stood next to the open casket at the music-filled service at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church, The Times-Picayune/ The New Orleans Advocate reported . Musicians who came to pay their respects included Robin Barnes, Kermit Ruffins, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Charles Moore, Irvin Mayfield, Ivan Neville and Dr. Brice Miller, the newspaper reported. Many played in his honor.
Bartholomew was 100 when he died June 23 in a suburban New Orleans hospital.
Along with Fats Domino, Bartholomew co-wrote and produced classics including "Ain't That a Shame," ''I'm Walkin'" and "Let the Four Winds Blow."
Bartholomew was a trumpet player since childhood and a bandleader and arranger before World War II. He befriended Domino in the late 1940s and they collaborated on dozens of hits that captured Domino's good-natured appeal, made him one of rock's earliest stars and made New Orleans a popular music center.
Al "Lil Fats" Jackson evoked Domino with a rendition of "Blue Monday" during the visitation, the newspaper reported, and Jon Cleary sang "Someday."
Despite the restrictions of segregation, Bartholomew rose to become a pop music icon, said the Rev. Tony Ricard, who led the funeral mass and joined in the spirited dancing on the church steps as the crowd followed the casket outside afterward.
New York, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — During a live segment on a cable news network, from a sports bar in France where patrons were celebrating the United States women's World Cup Championship, a profane chant about President Donald Trump broke out.
The First Viewer was not pleased.
But the object of his ire was not CNN or MSNBC. It was his favorite outlet, Fox News Channel, and the president issued a not-so-veiled threat about the network's programming.
No president has been so closely aligned with a single news outlet as Trump is with Fox News, so his criticism carried added significance. While it was not the first time he has singled out Fox, it was the most pointed, raising the question of how the network, and the president's supporters, would respond.
Trump on Sunday night wrote that watching Fox on the weekend was worse than watching CNN and MSNBC, outlets he frequently attacks. He said Fox is "loading up with Democrats" and criticized the network for using The New York Times as a source for a story. He also attacked Fox for hiring former Democratic National Committee head Donna Brazile as a contributor and poked at afternoon host Shepard Smith's ratings.
"Fox News is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there," Trump wrote.
Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
While it was not clear what Trump was specifically responding to, he was particularly annoyed by Fox correspondent Greg Palkot's live report from a sports bar in France, where patrons erupted in a "F--- Trump" chant, according to two advisers not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.
Fox also aired two segments about immigration Sunday that used as a hook a Times story that said workers at a child detention center in Texas are "grappling with the stuff of nightmares," according to Matthew Gertz of the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America.
By some measures, Trump has never been closer to Fox News, or at least their evening hosts. He regularly calls into Sean Hannity's show, touts Laura Ingraham's program and, last month, frequently consulted Tucker Carlson, who strongly opposes military action against Iran, off-air. A few days later, Carlson was spotted among Trump's entourage during the president's visit to the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea. Carlson traveled with Trump for an interview that was shown on Fox.
But the president's frustration with the network has grown in recent months.
He has angrily told confidants he is confused about why Fox News sometimes "goes negative" in its coverage of his administration when it features an unflattering portrait of his White House, the advisers said.
Trump was particularly annoyed at Fox's coverage when he saw his ties to billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein being played up on the other networks.
Epstein was charged Monday with sexually abusing dozens of underage girls. His powerful friends over the years have included Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.
Trump has gone on to complain that he feels that MSNBC and CNN rarely criticize Democrats and instead deliver pointed and, in his estimation, unfair attacks on the administration. To counter that, Trump has said, he feels it is important for Fox News to remain "loyal" to the White House and Republicans as a balance to the other networks' alleged bias, according to the advisers.
"I think he takes 'Fox & Friends' literally, that they're supposed to be friends," said Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. "Fox has real journalists who ask real questions, like Chris Wallace. If he thinks the 'no spin zone' is going to be the no criticism zone, he's right most of the time, but not all of the time."
Trump tweeted negatively about Fox this spring after it aired town halls featuring Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. "Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems," he tweeted May 19.
He said "what's with Fox News?" on April 16 after the Sanders session, accusing the network of turning away Trump fans who wanted to attend.
In March, he suggested Fox weekend anchors Arthel Neville and Leland Vittert should be working at CNN.
"I suspect Fox executives don't get too worked up over the president's tweets and offhanded comments," said Ken LaCorte, a longtime Fox News executive who now operates his own website. News reporters and anchors at Fox, who work in the shadow of opinion hosts, don't necessarily mind when a presidential tweet illustrates that not everyone at Fox is in the president's pocket.
Still, many of Fox's regular viewers also follow Trump on Twitter, and there's a risk when the president foments discontent. LaCorte said if the crticisms became more frequent, or if Trump cuts off the frequent access that many Fox personalities have for interviews, that would be a more worrisome sign.
Sesno, however, said the latest incident foreshadows potential trouble for Fox as the campaign heats up. Trump will obviously come under criticism; to what extent does Fox reflect that?
While there are other conservative websites and news networks, like One American News Network and NewsMax, none come close to the reach and influence that Fox has with this audience.
"What other channel are you going to if you want to see pro-Trump stuff on TV?" Sesno asked.